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On the left So, What's New in the Past in blue lettering above The Multiple Meanings of Medical History in the bottom in red lettering. A montage of six images. The far left is a man is being beaten with a stick by another man; a third man stands to the left holding a watch, timing the beating. Next is a oman, half-length, left pose, full face; holding Cushman's Menthol Inhaler. Next a group of four physicians sit in consultation, two with walking sticks to their noses, while the patient looks on from his bed. Next a black and white half length, full face, seated at desk covered with books and papers, hand to chin of William Osler. Next a black and white photograph of Dr. Harvey Cushing dressed in medical scrubs and wearing gloves standing at the bedside of a young patient lying on their side with bandages on their head and covered with white sheets. Finally a head and shoulders photograph of Henry Sigrest in an advertisment for a talk.

HISTORY as Profession

In the quarter century after World War II, the discipline of the history of medicine underwent dramatic change fueled by the spectacular development of science and science-based industry. A lavishly funded research enterprise attracted widespread public interest and spawned a new field of scholarship: the history of science.

This new professional field exerted a strong influence on the history of medicine and drew renewed attention to the growth of medical science. The more cautious political climate of the 1950s and the proliferation of academic subdisciplines that accompanied the expansion of universities and professional schools also influenced the history of medicine.

When historians of medicine wrote about social or institutional developments during this period, they generally directed their attention to subjects that were not politically controversial. They seemed to cultivate their discipline more for its own sake than to serve the needs of the medical profession or the general public.

A selection of some of the books published in the fifties, sixties and seventies by history of medicine professionals, as the field "took off" with stunning productivity.

Science was often organized in networks connecting universities, industry and the military.

The pharmaceutical industry became "big science" and "big business" during these years, and was a major influence in shaping medicine.

Color cover of Networks of Innovation: Vaccine Development at Merck, Sharp and Dohme, and Mulford, 1895-1995 by Louis Galambos with Jane Eliot Sewell featuring a head and shoulders right side view of a man in a white lab coat looking at a microscop.
Louis Galambos with Jane Eliot Sewell
Networks of Innovation: Vaccine Development at Merck, Sharp & Dohme, and Mulford, 1895-1995
New York, 1995
NLM Call Number: 1996 E-252, Cover

Courtesy of Elizabeth Fee

The working historian's principal "tool of the trade."

A color photograph of a Smith-Corona Typewriter with two pieces of crumpled paper on both sides of the typewriter.
Smith-Corona Electra 210 typewriter, ca. 1965

Courtesy of Theodore Brown

Some working historians...

Black and white photograph of Owsei Temkin. It is a half length, with Temkin seated at a table with his arms on table in front of bookcase.
Owsei Temkin (Medical Historian)
NLM Prints and Photographs Call Number: Portrait no. 3

Head and shoulders, full face black and white photograph of Richard Harris Shryock. The photograph is autographed in the bottom right corner.
Richard Harris Shryock (Social Historian)
NLM Prints and Photographs Call Number: Portrait no. 1

Black and white photograph of Charles D. O'Malley half length, turned to right, wearing glasses; seated at desk, reading book; in front of bookcase.
Charles D. O'Malley (Historian of Science)
NLM Prints and Photographs Call Number: Portrait no. 2